13 posts from June, 2012

A Peek at the June Newsletter for Members

Posted June 22nd, 2012 by

What kinds of things do we cover in our monthly newsletters for members? Take a look at the excerpt below from our June edition. Also, in case you didn’t know, anyone – whether a PatientsLikeMe member or not – can view our current and past newsletters in our Newsletter Archive. See what we’ve been up to recently, and if you are member who’s not opted in to the newsletter, sign up today.

MONTHLY MUSINGS

Burning. Stabbing. Aching. Throbbing. Dull. Have you used any of these words to describe pain?  Highly subjective to each individual, pain is a sensory experience triggered by the nervous system.  Some of the different types include nerve pain (neuralgia), muscle and joint point and arthritis pain.

Check Out the Pain Symptom Report at PatientsLikeMe

If you’re living with chronic pain, it may feel like no one understands.  But pain is actually one of the top symptoms reported at PatientsLikeMe, affecting more than 40,000 of you and playing a role in so many different conditions, from fibromyalgia to rheumatoid arthritis to lupus. Over half of you rate your pain as “moderate” or “severe.”

How are fellow patients managing this “invisible” symptom?  Check out the pain symptom report as well as the hundreds of treatment evaluations for opioid painkillers such as Tramadol (Ultram) and Hydrocodone; anti-convulsant medications such as Gabapentin (Neurontin) and Pregabalin (Lyrica); and complementary therapies like acupuncture and massage. You can also join in on our forum discussions about pain for tips and advice.

Pain can make you feel alone – but you’re not.  Connect with thousands of others who can relate and share experiences.

Kate, Emma, Liz, Jeanette & Sharry

Kate"" Emma"" Jeanette"" Sharry""

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Have you poked around the forum recently?  We now have lots of different rooms to meet your needs.  For example, did you know about the Digestive and Intestinal Room, the Muscles, Bones and Joints Room or the Neurological and Brain Room?  Find your favorite room(s) and check out some of these active threads below.

Need help with something on the site?  Visit the PatientsLikeMe Site Help Room for answers from longtime members.

WHAT MEN HAVE TO SAY

Last week was Men’s Health Week.  To honor the men in our community, we’ve spotlighted a few thought-provoking quotes by our male members.

Parkinson Pete

“Along comes PD and life changes. Now, I get all anxious about having to be ‘on’ at parties and functions. But, I go to everything! My default answer is now yes instead of no because frankly it’s too much trouble to back out of everything I say yes to. I always enjoy myself and am glad I went. I push myself while I can and it seems to help. It is work, but it is worth it because it not only rewards me, more importantly, it rewards my wife.”

Parkinson’s Pete, PD patient, 61 years old

Tommy Maker

“After a few days spent lazing about, I feel ashamed. I can look at this rationally and consider that in my current circumstances even surviving the day is an achievement but a lingering resentment at my inaction remains present nevertheless. I’m 50 years old, I’ve been unemployed for three months in my life, I’m now facing retirement and wondering whether I will be able to shake off this sense of negative self-perception.”

Tommy Maker, ALS patient, 50 years old


A Day in the Life of PatientsLikeMe Product Manager Maureen Oakes

Posted June 20th, 2012 by

What’s it like to work at PatientsLikeMe?  We are continuing to reveal just that with our monthly blog series “A Day in the Life,” which features employees from different departments.  So far, we’ve interviewed User Experience Engineer Cris NecocheaResearch Assistant Shivani Bhargava, Office Manager Alison Dutton,  Research Scientist Timothy Vaughan and Biz Dev’er Arianne Graham.  Today we’d like to introduce you to Product Manager Maureen Oakes, or as she’s affectionately known around the office, “Mo.”

PatientsLikeMe Product Manager Maureen Oakes

1.  You’re the Product Manager at PatientsLikeMe.  Tell us what that involves.

A little bit of everything! I read in an article that product managers are like “embedded CEOs” because you drive the core decisions to improve and change the product, which in this case is the PatientsLikeMe website. That means different things depending on the circumstances. Sometimes my job is getting all the right people in the room to make a decision, and sometimes it is making a decision myself. In all cases, it involves listening, asking good questions, weighing all the options and following up to make sure what needs to get done actually happens.

Each day I split my time between planning ahead for enhancements we could make to the site in the coming weeks and months and ensuring the things the engineering team is building now are going smoothly.  For example, when we are trying to decide what to work on, we have to ask, “Is A more important than B? What is affected if we choose to work on C instead? Who benefits most from each of those options and how much work is it to accomplish?” It’s my job to tee up those questions so that we are working on the right things at the right time.

The same goes for things we are building now – there are tradeoffs and decisions to be made all day long.

2.  As a longtime employee, what milestones stick out to you?

There are so many! But I think the first would be the launch of the mood conditions community in 2008. I joined PatientsLikeMe in 2007 so it was the first time I participated in building out a community – hearing the research team’s thoughts on disease measures, showing examples to get feedback from patients, and being there to welcome the first members. There was a New York Times Magazine article about PatientsLikeMe around the time we launched, so several thousand people joined that first week. It was amazing to see the community take off so quickly.

In 2010, we started work on another milestone – a project to open up PatientsLikeMe to anyone with any condition. That was a ton of work, but it was great to have the whole company focusing on a very clear goal and working closely together to achieve it. I was especially motivated because my mother was undergoing treatment for lymphoma at the time, and every day I wished we had had PatientsLikeMe members and tools available for her condition. In 2011, she went into remission and PatientsLikeMe opened its doors to anyone with any condition, so that was huge, both personally and professionally.

Maureen's Famous Boston Cream Pie

3.  You’re also the resident baker at PatientsLikeMe.  What treats do you make?

I’m a big fan of celebrating birthdays so my standing offer is to bake whatever a PatientsLikeMe employee requests for his or her birthday each year.

I’ve made all kinds of things – Oreo and whipped cream desserts, carrot cupcakes, brownies, apple cake, triple chocolate cake. But the biggest challenge has definitely been Boston Cream Pie. It is not easy to make, but it’s a huge hit, so now lots of people keep requesting it.

*********************************

Want to make a difference in patients’ lives?  Maureen is currently searching for a Senior User Experience (UX) Designer to join her team.  “This may be my biggest project right now!” she says.  “We already have one great designer, but we need help to keep improving the site at a faster pace.”  Learn more about the benefits of working at PatientsLikeMe on our Careers page.